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Baha'is consider that Baha'u'llah has fulfilled the prophecies of the Lord Krishna when he said:
Whenever there is a decline in righteousness, O Bharat, and the rise of irreligion, it is then that I send forth My spirit.
For the salvation of the good, the destruction of the evil-doers, and for firmly establishing righteousness, I manifest myself from age to age. (1)
Hindus are awaiting the coming of the Kalki Avatar at the end of this present age, Kali Yuga. Baha'is believe that we are already at this time. We are at the end of the Kali Yuga and Baha'u'llah is the Kalki Avatar. This age in which we live is an age of the decline of righteousness. And, as promised in the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord has manifested Himself again, this time with the name Baha'u'llah. This name means `the Glory of Bhagwan' or `the Splendour of Ishvara'. The coming of Baha'u'llah is therefore the start of the Sat or Krta Yuga (Golden Age). It is the time when people will return to righteousness and the world will be at peace.
Baha'is have pointed to the prophecies in the Hindu scriptures and stated that all of these have been fulfilled in this age. There are many passages in the Hindu writings which describe the condition of the world at the end of the Kali Yuga (Dark or Iron Age). Baha'is would say that what is described in the Hindu books is exactly what we are seeing in the world today. Among the most striking of these passages from the Hindu holy books are the following:
In the Kali Yuga, wealth alone will be the deciding factor of nobility [in place of birth, righteous behaviour or merit]. And brute force will be the only standard in establishing or deciding what is righteous or just.
Mutual liking [and not family pedigree, social status, etc.] will be the deciding factor in choosing a partner in marriage; cheating will be the order of the day in business relations; satisfaction of sexual pleasure will be the only consideration of male or female excellence and worthiness; and the wearing of the sacred thread (Yajnopavita) [and not pious behaviour or Vedic or Shastric learning] will be the outward index of being a Brahmin.(2)
In the Kali Yuga, only one quarter of each of the four feet of Dharma [penance, truthfulness, compassion and charity] remains. And that too goes on decreasing day by day while the `feet' of Adharma [unrighteousness] increase greatly. So that in the end Dharma becomes extinct.
In that [Kali] age, people will be greedy. They will take to wicked behaviour. They will be merciless, indulge in hostilities without any cause, unfortunate, extremely covetous for wealth and women. High social status will be attained by Sudras, fishermen and such other classes...
When deceit, falsehood, lethargy, sleepiness, violence, despondency, grief, delusion, fear, and poverty prevail, that is the Kali Yuga...
... mortal beings will become dull-witted, unlucky, voracious, destitute of wealth yet voluptuous, and women, wanton and unchaste.
Countries will be laid waste by robbers and vagabonds; the Vedas will be condemned by heretics; kings will exploit their subjects, and twice-borns like Brahmanas will only think of the gratification of their sexual desires and other appetites.
Celibates [of the Brahmacarya ashrama] will cease to observe their vows of study, purity and celibacy; householders will take to begging [instead of giving alms]; hermits [of the vanaprastha ashrama] will resort to villages [leaving their retreats in the
forests]; and Sannyasins will be extremely greedy for money. [In short, the whole system of the Varnashrama Dharma will have broken down.]
Petty-minded people will conduct business transactions and merchants will be dishonest.
In the Kali Yuga, men will abandon their parents, brothers, friends, and relatives. They will establish their friendships on a sexual basis.
People who are ignorant of religion will occupy high seats [and pulpits] and will [pretend to] preach religion.
People will have their minds weighed down with constant anxiety and fear. This will be due to devastating famines and heavy taxation. The land will not grow food-crops, and the people will always be in fear of impending droughts.(3)
There are similar prophesies in many other passages of the Hindu scriptures such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana.(4) Baha'is believe that all of the conditions described in these books have come about today. And so we are living in the age prophesied in these books. Baha'u'llah describes the condition of the world at present thus:
The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day. Its face is turned towards waywardness and unbelief. Such shall be its plight, that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly. Its perversity will long continue. (5)
Prominent contemporary Indian writers have also agreed with this assessment of Baha'u'llah. Swami Vivekananda wrote, for example:
But greater than the present deep dismal night...no pall of darkness had ever before enveloped this holy land of ours. And compared with the depth of this fall, all previous falls appear like little hoof-marks. (6)
There are also prophecies of the breakdown of the caste system that we are seeing today and the abandonment of religion:
The observance of caste, order, and institutes will not prevail in the Kali Yuga; nor will that of the ceremonials and rituals enjoined by the Sama, Rig and Yajur Vedas. Marriages, in this age, will not conform to the ritual; nor will the rules that connect the guru and his disciple be in force. The laws that regulate the conduct of husband and wife will be disregarded; and oblations to the gods with fire will no longer be offered ... The doctrines and dogmas of anyone will be held to be scripture... In the Kali Yuga, those who practise fasting, austerity and liberality will do so in whatever way they please [and not according to the Law]. And men will call this righteousness... Men of all degrees, filled with conceit, will consider themselves to be equal with Brahmins...
In the Kali Yuga, men, corrupted by unbelievers, will refrain from adoring Vishnu, the lord of sacrifice, the creator and lord of all. They will say: `Of what authority are the Vedas? What are gods, or Brahmins? What need is there for purification with water?' (7)
All the Hindu scriptures are agreed that when conditions have reached this point, when things have deteriorated and mankind has sunk to the lowest depths of moral degradation, then the Lord will again manifest Himself as the Kalki Avatar:
When Vedic religion and the dharma of the law books have nearly ceased and the Kali Yuga is almost exhausted, then a part of the creator of the entire universe...the blessed Lord Vasudeva [Vishnu], will become incarnate here in the universe in the form of Kalki.(8)
Some Baha'i scholars have even demonstrated that the prophecies in the Manu Srmiti and other books indicate the exact date of the end of the Kali Yuga and the coming of the Kalki Avatar. This date, 1844, is also the year of the beginning of the Baha'i Faith (see Chapter 8).(9)
Therefore Baha'is believe that, faithful to the promises and prophesies recorded in the Hindu holy books, the Lord has now manifested Himself again in the form of the Kalki Avatar. Baha'is believe that this is Baha'u'llah. The purpose of Baha'u'llah's coming is to fulfil the prophecies in the Hindu scriptures and to give us the teachings that will bring in the new Sat or Krta Yuga (Golden Age). As foretold in the Vishnu Purana:
He will then establish righteousness upon the earth and the minds of the people will be awakened and become pure as crystal. And these men, the remnant of mankind, will thus be transformed... And these offspring will follow the ways of the Krta Age. (10)
Baha'is believe that through the teachings of Baha'u'llah, which are described in this book, these prophecies will be fulfilled. As a result the Sat or Krta Yuga (Golden Age) will be established.
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Text taken from Hinduism and the Baha'i Faith
© Moojan Momen 1996. All Rights Reserved
NOTES (for details of books cited, see Bibliography)
1. Bhagavad Gita 4:7-8.
2. Bhagavata Purana XII, 2:2-3.
3. Bhagavata Purana XII, 3:24, 25, 30-33, 35, 37-39.
4. For prophecies from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, see H.M. Munje, The Whole World is but One Family, pp. 32-40; from the Vishnu Purana, 4:24. See also Bhagavata Purana, vol. 12, 2:1-15.
5. Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, LXI, p. 118.
6. Vivekananda, Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol. 6, p. 187.
7. Vishnu Purana 6:1.
8. Vishnu Purana 4:24. See also Bhagavata Purana XII, 2:16.
9. See Munje, 1844 A.D. - The Pinpoint Target of all Faiths and also Mishra, Kalki Avatar.
10. Vishnu Purana 4:24.